10am - 1pm

Workshop: The Unbelievable Truth

Everyone has stories to tell from their own experience. But many people lack the confidence and support to write their story for friends and family or for commercial publication. This workshop with Madeline Oliver and Viv Lewis will kick-start your memoir or creative non-fiction by offering you tools to help you identify what you really…

7pm

Festival Launch Party

Celebrate the launch of our 2018 festival program with a special performance at Varuna house by extraordinary musician Kate Fagan. A prominent Australian poet and performer, Kate’s poetry has been shortlisted both for The Age Book of the Year and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and her album Diamond Wheel won the National Film and…

9:30am - 11:00am

Tohby Riddle Writing Workshop: Good Thinking, Good Writing

Good writing comes from good thinking. By offering playful and lateral ways of looking at words and generating ideas, this workshop aims to extend a young writer’s approach to the art of writing. Sketch with words, create new expressions, look at clichés and explore ways of creating fresh storylines. All these activities and more are…

10am - 1pm

Workshop: Flash!*

Very short fiction goes by many names, including flash, short short story, and microfiction. It’s a vibrant form with a rich literary tradition and it has seen a recent explosion in popularity. This workshop with Melissa Goode and Barry Lee Thompson is for writers of all levels, and explores some of the ways that flash…

10:00am - 10:45am

Grug

Grug began his life as the top of a Burrawong tree. Resembling a small, striped haystack with feet and a nose, he is fascinated by the world around him. Come along for this story session and meet Grug in person. Perfect for kids aged 2–6, but fun for fans of all ages. Free*. Speakers: Grug…

11:00am - 12:00pm

Emily Rodda

Emily Rodda’s Deltora Quest books cemented her place as one of Australia’s most renowned and loved children’s authors. This session is a chance for readers to meet Emily Rodda, ask questions, and hear about her new book The Shop at Hoopers Bend — a magical story about coming home when you didn’t know that was…

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Cracking Climate by Cracking Consumption

In her book Sunburnt Country, climate scientist Dr Joelle Gergis pieces together Australia’s climate history using historical documents, tree rings and Indigenous seasonal calendars. In his book Curing Affluenza, Richard Denniss, Chief Economist of The Australia Institute, calls on us to think differently about our limited resources, and cherish materialism over consumerism. Together, these authors will…

2:30pm - 3:30pm

Rising in the West: Writing from Sydney’s Heart

Omar Sakr, Rawah Arja and Stephen Pham are three rising stars from Western Sydney’s vibrant writing scene. In 2017 these writers spent time at Varuna as part of the WestWords & Varuna Western Sydney Residential Program. Come along to this session to hear about their work, and discover the fiery writing coming out of Sydney’s…

2:30pm - 5:00pm

How to Get Published: Insiders’ Perspectives

Have you ever wondered what it takes to get published? Join our panel of Australian publishing insiders for this session on the nuts and bolts of mainstream publishing, self-publishing, the role of an agent and editor, and the experience from a writers’ perspective. Presenters include publisher Lou Johnson, consultant and editor Kit Carstairs, self-publishing guru…

11:30am - 2:00pm

The Common Table: Poetry Workshop

There is a long history of poets writing about food, stretching back to classical Greek and Chinese poetry and continuing into contemporary poetry. Food, like poetry, exemplifies how the sum of something is often much greater than its parts. In this hands-on half-day workshop, Sydney poet Eileen Chong will explore food in poetry through a…

2:30pm - 4:30pm

Varuna Poetry Circle

Join local and visiting poets around the fire pit in the Varuna garden. Bring your own poem to read, or simply sit, listen and enjoy the magical ambience of the Writers’ House. One of the most well-loved events in the festival program. Venue: Varuna House…

9:30am - 10:30am

Tara Westover – Getting Educated

Tara Westover (USA) was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she grew up preparing for the end of the world, with virtually no education or medical attention. Eventually, Tara’s quest for knowledge took her to Harvard and then to a PhD from Cambridge…

11:00am - 12:00pm

Dias Novita Wuri – Feminist Perspectives

Indonesian writer, linguist and translator Dias Novita Wuri talks about her latest project which explores how memories of war still linger in modern life, particularly for World War II ‘comfort women’. Dias Novita Wuri will be in conversation with feminist writer and editor Zoya Patel, whose debut book No-Country Woman will be published in 2018. Speakers: Dias…

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Michelle de Kretser – How Life Could Be Different

Set in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka, Michelle de Kretser’s new novel The Life to Come tackles Australian identity and cosmopolitanism. In a searing critique of the over-the-top materialism of middle-class progressives, and the culture of ‘curating the self’ in social media, the novel is contemporary but effortlessly classic. One of Australia’s finest writers, Michelle de…

2:30pm - 3:30pm

Kim Scott – Taboo

Two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Award, Kim Scott is widely regarded as one of the most important and exciting novelists in Australia. His latest book Taboo tells the story of a group of Noongar people who revisit, for the first time in many decades, a taboo place. Kim Scott will be in conversation with…

4:00pm - 5:00pm

Music, Gender and Transformation with Eddie Ayres

Eddie Ayres joins writer and musician Kate Fagan to discuss his remarkable life in music, and travels that have seen him cycling across the remote Taklamakan Desert in China, teaching double bass in Afghanistan and playing viola in the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Eddie was previously known as Emma Ayres, and was host of Classic FM…